Sol-gel synthesis of Eu3+ doped silica-gold nanorod composites with tunable optical properties

José Raúl Montes-Bojorquez, Ofelia Hernández-Negrete*, Hilda E. Esparza-Ponce, Víctor Alvarez-Montaño, Javier Hernández-Paredes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gold nanorods (AuNRs) suspension at various concentrations was added into the sol-gel process to engineer nanostructured europium-doped silica host matrices as light-emitting composites. For this purpose, the samples were prepared following two different routes depending on the chemicals used as dopant and catalyst: (a) Eu(NO3)3·5H2O and HNO3, and (b) EuCl·6H2O and HCl. In any case, samples adding various concentrations of AuNRs suspension were prepared. The structural characterization of the samples was through STEM, backscattered electrons (BSE), and EDS analysis. Additionally, their optical properties were evaluated by PL spectroscopy and CIE colorimetry. The results confirmed that (a) methodology produced samples with AuNRs embedded and randomly distributed in the samples. However, these features were not observed in the samples obtained through (b) due to AuNRs dissolution in HCl media. Regarding the optical properties, the analysis of the relative intensity ratio 5D07F2/5D07F1 suggested that Eu3+ ions occupy non-centrosymmetric sites in (a) host matrices and centrosymmetric sites in (b). Hence, the increase of AuNRs suspension when fabricating (a) host matrices produced remarkable color changes in the luminescence of the samples towards the reddish-orange region. Meanwhile, the dissolution of AuNRs in (b) minimized the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effects on the Eu3+ luminescence. These findings revealed that the evaluation and selection of chemicals are critical factors when engineering these materials for more efficient coupling between the LSPR and Eu3+ luminescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27006-27015
Number of pages10
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number38
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2023

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© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry


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